Hibernian win the Second Division title at the first time of asking but promotion to the First Division is rejected by other Scottish clubs.
When season 1893/94 got under way, the Club was in a good state of affairs, largely thanks to the tireless work of Secretary Thomas Flood with a hard working committee of stalwarts in support. Money was still tight but the Holy Ground was in an improved state with a good stand and dressing rooms together with raised wooden staging around the other three sides of the pitch to allow the devoted fans a better view.
Much of the work undertaken had been carried out by willing fans happy to give their time and skills whilst saving the Club a lot of money into the bargain, but then this was the Hibernian ethos, a family Club where everyone played their part.
Thanks largely to the efforts of Flood, the Club would compete in the newly created Scottish Second Division and many felt they had the players to cause a stir in that competition. A pre season friendly at Celtic Park against a very strong home side finished in a 5-3 defeat, but the signs were there in terms of Hibernians having a team to be reckoned with. The large Glasgow Irish support cheered on the men from the East, encouraged and entertained by their skilful play.
Once the League campaign got under way, Hibernian were back in Glasgow and in front of a large crowd that defeated Glasgow Thistle 2-1 to get the season off to a flier. For their first ever League match at Easter Road, the home side trailed 2-1 early in the game against Morton, but the feverish Hibernians support roared their heroes on to a game they eventually won 9-2.
The first round of the Scottish Cup took Hibernian to Central Park against Cowdenbeath, where a 2-1 victory saw them through safely in a match where Barney Breslin, who would go on to enjoy a long and successful career at the Holy Ground, made his debut. League and Cup victories followed and it would be early October before points were dropped, but Hibernian still led the League despite those setbacks.
A Scottish Cup defeat away to Vale of Leven brought great disappointment, but even back then fans told themselves the Hibernian would win it the following year and in the meantime it would allow the players to concentrate on the League! By mid-November and following a sound 8-2 thrashing of Motherwell at Easter Road, Hibernian were already being hotly tipped for promotion.
During the first part of 1894 there was a mix of League matches and friendlies with the odd local Cup tie, but Saturday 19th May was the date for celebration as Hibernian hammered Port Glasgow Athletic 10-1 at Easter Road to clinch the Second Division Championship at the first time of asking. Whilst the celebrations went on deep into the night amongst the Club's supporters, there was the little matter of there not being automatic promotion to Division One and the Hibernian Committee set about canvassing support from other Clubs as promotion would depend upon a vote.
In a decision which baffles to this day, Hibernians were refused admission to the First Division, their place going to a Clyde outfit which had not even finished second in the League won by the greens. Club Secretary Thomas Flood tried manfully to have the decision overturned and was disappointed to report at the Hibernian AGM that amongst those Clubs which had voted for Clyde were Glasgow Celtic, Glasgow Rangers and Heart of Midlothian. No reversal of the decision was forthcoming and so Second Division Champions Hibernian had to play in that League again the following season.
Not to be denied
The new 1894/95 season was to get underway with some changes on the Committee, Thomas Flood being replaced after his business interests required him to move to Glasgow. On the field of play, an encouraging 2-1 win in a friendly at Tynecastle over First Division outfit Hearts put both players and supporters in a good mood for the League campaign ahead. This feeling of optimism was hugely strengthened when another 2-1 win in a friendly against the might of Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox made people sit up and take notice of a strong Hibernians outfit.
Hibernian beat Hearts 2-1 in a friendly match at Tynecastle in 1894
The opening League game at Easter Road against Partick Thistle was preceded by the unfurling of the Second Division Championship flag. A comprehensive 5-1 win over the Glasgow outfit followed.
A return friendly with Hearts followed and around 9,000 delirious Hibernian fans watched a superb game which was balanced at three each come half time, but finished 5-3 in favour of the greens. With home and away League wins recorded, the Hibernians welcomed Rangers to Easter Road in mid-September and took a creditable 3-3 draw. This result meant that two of the strongest teams in the First Division had failed to overcome the Hibernian both at home and away.
At the end of September 1894 Hibernian accepted an invitation to travel to Manchester to play a friendly against a Newton Heath team whose strips were half green/half yellow. With a number of reserves in the team the Hibernians lost 2-1 in a good but well contended match. It would not be too much longer after that game when Newton Heath adopted their new name - Manchester United.
A standout in the Hibernians team of that era was centre half James McGeachan. Hibernian, although desperate for him to stay, had promised the player that if the right offer came along and it meant better wages for him, they would consider it and discuss it with him. Both Celtic and Rangers made offers but with McGeachan's blessing both were rejected as Hibernian did not want to sell to another Scottish Club. The player was also fullt in agreement with that condition. Along came Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool, with the former offering almost twice that offered by Liverpool and so McGeachan left in mid-November. He would prove a hard player to replace.
Hibernian play their first game in the newly formed Scottish Second Division, beating Glasgow Thistle 2-1.
The Club play their first competitive match at Easter Road, thrashing Morton 9-2 in the League.
On Saturday 19th May 1894 Hibernian hammer Port Glasgow Athletic 10-1 at Easter Road to clinch the Second Division Championship at the first time of asking.
Hibernian were refused admission to the First Division following their Second Division victory.
The Club start their second term in the Second Division with a 5-1 win at home to Partick Thistle.
Two of the strongest teams in the First Division, Hearts and Rangers, failed to overcome the Hibernian in both home and away friendlies.
Written as part of 'The Origins of Hibernian' series